Vienna, Nov 2 (efe-epa).- An assailant was among at least two people killed Monday in a series of shootings at six different spots in this capital, Austrian authorities said.
“We cannot establish a number yet, we are still trying to get a general view,” ambulance-service spokesman told news agency APA.
Police said they received a call around 8.00 pm about shots being fired near Vienna’s main synagogue on a downtown street lined with bars and restaurants where many people were enjoying a final night out before Austria enters a month-long Covid-19 lockdown.
Multiple attackers armed with rifles opened fire at five other places in the city, killing one civilian and wounding at least 15 other people.
Police fatally shot one of the aggressors and were pursuing another one who was thought to be wearing an explosive belt, according to state-run broadcaster ORF.
Seven of the wounded were badly hurt, including a police officer.
“It appears to have been a terror attack,” Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told ORF. “I can confirm that there were several injured and that there are probably also deaths among them.”
Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, denounced what he described as “this repulsive terrorist attack.”
“We are currently experiencing difficult hours in our republic. I would like to thank all the emergency forces who are risking their lives for our safety, especially today,” he said. “I am glad that our police were able to neutralize one of the attackers. We will not never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks with all means.”
Officials said they lacked information about the identity of the attackers and their motivation.
Police set up an official site for people to upload images or video of the shootings, while strongly urging the public not to post such material on social media.
“We are on site with all available forces. Please avoid all public squares in the city,” the Vienna Police said on Twitter.
Nehammer said that the army’s special forces unit, the Jagdkommando, had assumed responsibility for guarding public buildings in Vienna, freeing up police to hunt down the attackers.
The leader of the Jewish religious community in Vienna, Oskar Deutsch, said it was unclear whether the synagogue or the nearby offices of his organization were intended targets of the attack.
Neither the synagogue not the offices were open when the shooting began, he said.
Two people were killed in a 1981 terrorist attack on that synagogue. EFE